August 18, 2019

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Taking It Easy in Winslow, Arizona, as City Passes Nondiscrimination Ordinance

Winslow, Arizona, is well known to every fan of the Eagles based on the band’s hit debut single, “Take it Easy,” released in 1972. Winslow again hit the radio and news media when its city council passed Ordinance No. 1327 on November 13, 2018.

Ordinance No. 1327 adds a new chapter titled “Human Rights” to the Winslow City Code. Winslow’s ordinance is meant to supplement Arizona and federal civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination in private employment, public accommodation, and housing. The ordinance applies to any employer doing business within Winslow that has one or more employee for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

The ordinance prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, or familial status. It does list gender expression as a protected characteristic; however, the ordinance defines “gender identity” as the “gender related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.”

The ordinance specifically makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire, refuse to employ, bar, discharge from employment, or otherwise discriminate on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, or familial status, in compensation or in the conditions or privileges of employment. The ordinance also makes it unlawful to discriminate against, harass, threaten, harm, damage, or otherwise penalize someone who opposes an unlawful practice, such as by filing a complaint or participating in an investigation pursuant to the ordinance or its protections. The ordinance excludes religious organizations with respect to the prohibitions concerning marital status, gender identity, or sexual orientation. It also excludes from coverage bona bide membership in clubs and social clubs.

A complaint procedure is also provided in the ordinance involving the Winslow city manager, investigation, and possible mediation. Penalties for violations of the ordinance include civil fines of between $1,500 and $2,500 for each violation.

In adopting Ordinance No. 1327, Winslow joins a growing list of Arizona cities with similar ordinances, including Tucson, Phoenix, Tempe, Sedona, and Flagstaff.

© 2019, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.

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Nonnie Shivers, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Employment Litigation Attorney
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Nonnie partners with employers and managers in three primary ways: litigation avoidance through proactive counseling and training; investigations and resolutions when pre-litigation concerns arise; and litigating legally complex and factually challenging cases to defend employer’s actions.  

Nonnie advises and counsels private and public employers in all aspects of employment law. Nonnie regularly partners with clients to plan and implement reductions in force, severance plans and agreements, and pre-litigation disciplinary matters. Nonnie...

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